Saturday, August 6, 2011

Convictions in New Orleans Police Bridge Shooting Case

A federal jury has convicted five current and former New Orleans police officers for opening fire on unarmed residents amid the chaos following Hurricane Katrina. The New York Times describes the horrifying scene back in 2005:

Several of the officers then chased Ronald and Lance Madison, two brothers, to the other side of the bridge, where Mr. Faulcon shot Ronald, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, in the back. Sergeant Bowen was convicted of stomping him on the back as he lay dying.

Much of the officers' defense relied on a familiar refrain regarding police violence: officers should not be punished for their instincts under such dire circumstances. Louisiana U.S. Attorney Jim Letten claimed the exact opposite is true, stating, “Who can we count on when our society is threatened... If we can’t depend on [the police], who can we depend on?”